A high-profile Birmingham development has lived up to its early promise after securing a hotel set to rival anything already in the city.
Hilton Doubletree will open a 200-bedroom hotel as the centrepoint of the Edgbaston Mill opposite the world-famous cricket ground which landlord Calthorpe Estates claims will “rub shoulders with the Hyatt”.
The announcement is a major boost for the scheme that first came to the drawing board eight years ago and then stalled in the downturn when a number of occupiers including Express by Holiday Inn cancelled their interest after HBOS withdrew its funding.
At the end of last year Calthorpe Estates, which has sold the site to Wylam Investments (Edgbaston Holdings) on a long lease, announced it had secured planning permission for a new hotel on the site.
Calthorpe’s director of development Ralph Minott said the high class Hilton brand was a great result for the scheme.
“This is a hotel that will be rubbing shoulders with the Hyatt,” he said.
“It will be a top quality four star operation with 200 bedrooms, a health club and spa, two restaurants and a coffee shop and I think with this project Calthorpe Estates has a better wrap-around solution than the original Edgbaston Mill proposal.”
The scheme will sit alongside the Hemisphere residential scheme, the success of which had bucked the current trend and indicated the importance of the site. “Nobody can underestimate the challenge of selling 300 apartments in the current market,” said Mr Minott.
“I’d be interested to see if there was another residential scheme that had completely sold in the same time frame and I think that says a great deal about this development.”
The scheme also includes a new Aldi which had initially been a controversial inclusion in the development but Mr Minott is adamant that the local residents will have changed their mind now that the future of the area is clearer.
He said: “I hope those who gave an honest opinion back then will now give there opinion on the finished product and I don’t think we could have hoped for a better result.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten that one of the great happenings in the area is the redevelopment of Edgbaston Priory which will create another world-class sports facility alongside the cricket ground and the hotel can only compliment that.”
Geoff Barrett, partner at architect practice Sidell Gibson Crouch Butler which has designed the hotel, added: “This is the last piece of the jigsaw from the original masterplan we created in 2003 and we have waited a long time to see it all come together.
“When we started this project the development at the cricket development had not been thought about but this new scheme will really compliment that.
"It will really create a new destination for the city where you can go and have a coffee or use the two restaurants or have meetings and it will also cater for all the people visiting the facilities in the area like the cricket, the tennis, the universities or the private hospitals.”